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Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion

by Auroville Language Laboratory
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Empowering Women & Girls in Auroville & Bioregion
Passive Phase Listening
Passive Phase Listening

Hello all!

How time flies!

Our first GlobalGiving Women's English group has finished its Tomatis program.  They did the 40 hours passive and 30 hours active program of listening training, just as stated in our project proposal.  All reported a greater understanding of English, as well as less hesitation in speaking, more ease or flow of the language, and more confidence.

Maybe you can evaluate this yourselves?  Have a look at these Before and After videos and tell us what you think.  What do you hear and observe? Do you see any changes?  Please share your observations/thoughts!

M Video - https://youtu.be/waCTrtSc980

Unfortunately, due to the startup difficulties, only two of the four took the Language Lab's English level test before starting the program, in the middle, and after finishing.  But those tests - mainly grammar tests - revealed an improvement of 50%.  Which is amazing, considering the fact that everyone thinks one has to have classes specifically on grammar in order to learn it. Whereas, the 50% improvement was due only to the listening training, with no grammar classes at all!

Three of them followed up the program by joining English classes with a teacher in our Tomatis classroom.  (One could not due to work commitments).  The youngest just joined college.  Another qualified to start the process of joining Auroville as a "Newcomer".  The third is making progress writing emails, required by her job.  We will keep following them to see how they progress and what they need.  More individual sessions reading out loud with a teacher will definitely help further.

Meanwhile, it has been difficult to create another group to follow the first one.  We realize that actually, developing the project as we originally conceived it, requires one person dedicated only to the project, who can do the legwork required to spread the word to women.  It is true that we get a lot more men than women coming to the Lab on their own.  So reaching out to women, requires a woman dedicated to the task!  Inundated with so many different tasks and work, including our commitment to the daily programs for children with special needs (autism spectrum, learning disorders, developmental delays, etc), and so much work related to the Auroville collectivity in the last few months, there was very little time to do this PR work and reach out in the way the project requires.  But it is our Commitment, and we will keep it! 

The project requires new energy! Actually, we had depended on one of our wonderful women assistants to anchor this project.  But her maternity leave extended (3 months have turned into 11). We miss her terribly, but life circumstances got in the way!  She promises now to be back in January.  In the meantime, we'll reach out to the pool of Auroville volunteers for a Tamil-speaking woman to work either full-time or at least half time.  We have been praying for that angel to arrive soon!  As of yesterday, we might just have found someone who can lead us to her!  We'll keep you posted!

Drawing/Artwork is an essential element
Drawing/Artwork is an essential element
Time for self-expression through painting!
Time for self-expression through painting!
Active Phase - Perfect listening posture!
Active Phase - Perfect listening posture!
Exercising the Audio-Vocal Loop!
Exercising the Audio-Vocal Loop!
Who said Language Learning was difficult????
Who said Language Learning was difficult????

Dear friends: all of you who gave to our project :

We have fabulous news!

The GlobalGiving English Women's first batch started.  There were 5 of them, and one dropped out due to inability to commit the time.  But the four others continued.  They did the entire one month of daily listening training, two hours a day Monday to Friday... They did the entire Tomatis process of listening to English as babies in the womb (the intra-uterine listening rich in high frequency sounds), in what we call the "Passive Phase".  Then, a three-week break.

They just got back yesterday (Monday) to start the "Active Phase".

All report being able to understand English much better than before, and their ability to speak has vastly improved!

In fact, one of them, N., floored me completely today : She hardly ever opened her mouth and had this huge blockage towards speaking English.  And she was excruciatingly shy.  You could feel that something wanted to get past her throat, but it just wouldn't.  I'd had her in class some years ago in our old building as well.  Today: gosh, you should have heard her speak!  Wow. I couldn't believe how she answered my questions easily. Turns out she went to the Auroville Entry group today, which vets people who want to join Auroville.   She described to me the questions they asked and reported her answers.  She was speaking English!!!  When I commented on how her English had improved, and asked her how she felt, she said "I am so happy," with the biggest smile!  I know how frustrated she was earlier, that no matter how much she tried and how many classes she would attend and how much time she would work with the software on our mediatheque, she still could never speak English.  So that big huge blockage has dissolved! She is speaking now, even before the Active Phase!

The other younger one, M, also extremely shy earlier, was laughing and repeating the Active Phase exercises, as were R and J.

But what is the most flabbergasting information : We did our regular English level test which allows us to determine whether someone is a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced student.  This test is basically a Grammar-based test. We'd done this just before the start of the program.  We redid the tests after the one month Listening Training and the 3-week break, just before they got back on Monday. Their performance was significantly better!  What is remarkable is that they did not attend a single grammar class, nor work on the computers in this time.  The improvements in grammar were entirely due to the Listening Training alone! 

Which just goes to prove what Dr. Tomatis said in the 1950s : that babies learn language, including grammar, in the womb!  By re-creating those womb-like conditions sonically, through our Tomatis machine, we can help people assimiliate (rather than "learn") the language, break down blockages, get over the need to mentally translate all the time, imbibe grammar "naturally", gain confidence enough to start speaking and have the speech flow!

In the world of education, this is revolutionary and ground-breaking!

We do have videos of them reading and also answering a few basic questions before they started the program, and now, just before the Active Phase. The difference is remarkable and we'll put the videos up on our Youtube channel in a few days.  It's SO exciting!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeTIG0y-sBMlyywZNdZcAng/videos

We'll keep you posted about their progress in the Active Phase.

ALL THIS BECAME POSSIBLE THANKS TO ALL OF YOU! 

None of this could have happened without you and your donation to the project.

So, an enormous Thank You!

By the way, in other news :  have a look :

- Computer link :https://transsolar.com/news/newsletter-june-2019-online

- Mobile link : https://mailchi.mp/133413f0a158/tsnewsletterjune2019?e=dd883081c1

One of the world's leading Climate Engineering firms, focussing on constructing buildings and climate responsive eco-cities, is studying our building as a Climate-Responsive building!

Please do us the pleasure of writing back if you see this and read this!  We'd LOVE to hear what you think about all this. Do you think your money was well spent????  Hoping to hear from you soon!

Links:

Celebration/Launch Invitation
Celebration/Launch Invitation

Never Say Die!

Nevertheless, Persist!

 

Dear friends: All of you wonderful people who have supported our project.

We have great news! 

Our celebratory launch is tomorrow.  June 1st, 2019 at 10am IST Indian Standard Time.

Attached is your invitation to participate from afar.

You are invited to participate energetically, if it is a decent hour in your time zone. Or, just think of us when you can.

More details are here : 

http://www.aurovillelanguagelab.org/latest-news.php

In brief, we combined everything: the GG monies, along with the support we received from two funding agencies which give money yearly to Auroville, and other donations, and work exchanges, and we are launching the Tomatis Classroom and the Group Listening Programs (open to all) as well as the GG Women's English Program.

With deepest thanks for your participation, and for enabling it to happen.

Love,

Mita

for Tapas and myself, and our full team.

PS : Will send a more detailed report in some time, with pics!

GG  English Women
GG English Women's Group Meeting 08 May 2019
Preparation for the GG Women
Preparation for the GG Women's English Group
Another Photo of the Women
Another Photo of the Women's Group Meeting
One More Photo of the GG Women
One More Photo of the GG Women's Group Meeting

Links:

Dear friends,

Already time for another report, and we find that January has turned to March.  We haven't been sitting idle (that we never do!).  In fact, it feels like we have been on a roller-coaster ride!  So many things happened, which have delayed our long-awaited project launch.

The update from the previous report is that: We got the dongles, we got the two sound cards (wow!), we got all the amplifiers except one (which arrives tomorrow!), we got the laptop and we got the original Windows.  We always take a lot of time researching options, specs, worldwide pricing, support, etc., before we buy any equipment, and this took quite a while.  Things are much quicker and easier with tech in the USA; here orders take time! Then we faced problems in the installation which again took time to troubleshoot and sort out, with support from our friends/supplier in Germany - all of which just got sorted out last week!    With the arrival of the last amplifier, we will actually be technically set to launch!  Both the GlobalGiving Women's English project and the Tomatis Classroom project.  (We had reported earlier, we combined the two to be able to do the import of the equipment properly).  It has been extremely long to put it all together!  Incidentally, in December Jan we already bought the chairs, bolsters, carpets, hygienic ear puffs, towels etc to prepare the physical space for the women.

Other than the technical problems to sort out, and the Highway issue, several things took my time away from the Lab and this project.  The main thing was the organization of the  "January sessions" - a very important event for Auroville, where a group of 8 extremely senior Town Planners came from Germany and the UK to help Auroville finds ways forward in its planning conundrum, caught in deep polarities which were preventing the growth of Auroville as a whole... the idea was to conceive an ecological and humane, integrative planning model based on community participation which could break those polarities. A blue-green Galaxy model for Auroville was conceived, inspired by but showing an alternative to the concrete-based Galaxy model of 1968 dating to when Auroville was founded. I was fully involved and subsequently also received a lot of the backlash....  just coming out of that now.  Then, two other things happened: CHARLES and another Europe trip! 

The Europe Trip came unannounced, really suddenly, at the last minute: a Tomatis Continuing training in Switzerland, mainly on a specific program developed by a professor from the University of Heidelberg, on Primary Auditory Evoked Potentials, which could help prove the effects of Tomatis. We can do before and after tests and thus have a worldwide scientific documentation/database to go with all our incredible anecdotal stories of progress. I couldn't miss that, so I went.  I've just returned this past weekend!  In fact, this professor wants to collaborate with us on our Language research!  Also went to Germany and thanks to the friends of the January sessions, met a company specializing in passive cooling and climate engineering... they will help us with the technical know-how to complete our cooling and dehumidification shafts!  In fact, they were super interested in our building!  So that is a great thing! They are discussing internally how to do it, since it will be pro-bono!  It was a fantastic meeting!

And on top of all that, CHARLES visited!  A friend and Tomatis colleague from Canada.  He'd always been inspired by the Tomatis film of 1992 which documents me in a language experiment which shows the power of Tomatis. Have been meeting him at the Swiss conferences every two years.  He suddenly called up and said he was coming and wanted to work with our team to find the Tomatis settings/parameters for TAMIL!  A long-standing dream!  Our entire team was involved.  I even had to leave for Switzerland before he finished. It was fantastic!  We have a serious hypothesis now!  It involved working directly with the Tomatis machine with several Tamil readers, reading under different Tomatis language settings, to see which settings helped in the language flow and which didn't at all.  And then seeing if the ones that worked and helped in the flow of reading, also helped Tamil learners.  Charles and I had talked about this two years ago.  Charles loved working with our team (he found them fantastic!) and together they managed to find a setting that seems pretty probable for Tamil.  Now we have to test it out further with more readers and more learners!  In the process, all of our young team learnt to manipulate the machine and also were exposed to the Tomatis effect themselves, which was eye-opening for them.  So many volunteers participated, including our welder's wife (in between all this Tapas was also supervising our roof extension to protect the roof from rain)!  Every Tamil member of our team participated including our Tamil teacher.

So all this time, while the tech part was being laboriously put together, all this other stuff was going on.  Which basically means, only now can we finally turn our attention to implementing our GlobalGiving Group English for Women and Tomatis classroom projects! 

We've had discussions all along of course, about various aspects of the program.  We've faced many questions about its implementation...  For example, what is the apt time for the women for the listening.  How can we make sure with the families that they can spare two hours a day?  If two hours a day (the regular Tomatis program) is too much to give and eats into their household duty time, then how can we modify the program without compromising on its quality.  What liberties can we take with the Tomatis protocol to adjust to the actual realities of women? Can we and should we offer it free of cost (the answer is No, there has to be a participation)?  Can we logistically organize two different groups, one following the regular protocol in the day, and the other in the late afternoon/early evening?  (We also wrote to the Auroville units employing village women asking for their views and inputs).  What is the price at which we can offer it (that greatly reduced group price) so that it does not negatively affect the individual program pricing and clients?  How can we organize our team's work timings to facilitate the group of women who need to come after work?  One more member of the team now is fully trained and able to run the Tomatis programs, which makes up for the missing member who is still out on maternity leave.  This was also done to prepare for the GlobalGiving program. We've also talked about how we are going to advertise the program, using the local Tamil newspapers, and organising several hands-on introductory experiments (not talks, which are boring.  I did one, for the first group of Tamil women, and it was excruciatingly boring I thought.  People need to see practically what it is!) every Saturday for a few Saturdays till we get stable and good groups to work with. Saturdays are important because they are the only day we don't have our daily bread-and-butter Mon-Fri clients who naturally also are a huge aim of our work. [Incidentally, we've had wonderful stories of progress with all of the kids doing the Tomatis program, and that's a whole other topic in itself - several children on the Autism spectrum who have started to communicate and speak - each one a story in itself; a child with Cerebral Palsy who can now hold his head on his own, and more!].   Summertime will also bring the possibility of working with girls in their school holidays.

So you see, it indeed has been a very long time, but, we haven't been faffing off; we've been consistently working, and behind it all has been our commitment to you as donors for this project.  We are deeply aware of this commitment!   So we can't give an exact date for the project launch, but it will be in the next month or so.  I do need to have a bit of a rest, and then, there are the year-end accounts to be done (in India, the Financial Year ends on March 31st).  And we need to organise the two starting groups.  We need to be crystal clear about the hows and whats before we start. 

If you have any questions or comments, please do write and ask.  We'd love interaction.  No time to transfer photos from the iPhone to the computer now, but next time, I promise pictures.

12.12.18 Auroville Language Lab GlobalGiving Project Report

Our June report mentioned our two goals: the Women's Group English training, and the Tomatis classroom.

It also mentioned the whole VAT, import taxes, transport costs complications, which we hadn't factored in earlier.

Our mid-Sept report mentioned that I was going to Germany on my way to the Tomatis practitioners conference in Switzerland and that I would find a way to solve the headphone import impasse. I can't really reveal all the details, but let's just say, by a series of miracles, I managed to bring all of the 8 headphones, 2 headsets and 1 distribution panel back with me! It was a huge lesson for me in total surrender, and I was amazed at every step! Tapas and the rest of the team were energetically with me all the way.

On getting back though, the fight against the highway proposed through Auroville took a very big chunk of my time and energy. It was almost full-time engagement with a big group of Aurovilians on the "Highway Task
Force". There has been somewhat positive news on that, and it was quite an experience, but it did mean that there was very little time left to work on the project.

Now that there is a temporary breather, I've gotten back to the project again.

We realized that just as we had zapped the whole issue of VAT etc, we had also zapped the fact that along with the equipment, we also needed the Tomatis software programs! In fact, we needed two programs. The big problem is that the programs cost 2500 Euros each - European price (so 5000 euros!) - with the Indian price we had negotiated some years ago being Euros 1250 each, so Euros 2500! We hadn't bargained for this and once again, it was a huge spanner in the works. The protected program comes on a dongle, and we needed two dongles to run (i) the Global Giving program and (ii) the Tomatis classroom.

We had already sent a letter to all the units of Auroville, and published in the Auroville News and Notes about the start of the programs in December, and even had a first meeting of the women interested (quite a few of whom came with their husbands!). But without the dongles, we couldn't (can't) do anything!

Now, while in Germany, one of my major tasks had been to finish the editing of an English translation of this major book on the Tomatis method, written by our Tomatis friend and colleague in Germany, who is also our supplier (as well as a donor through GG!).  I had sat from morning to late night, every day, over 8 days, at a desk, working non-stop; getting up only for meals (sumptuous healthy meals prepared by his wife). I didn't even go out of the house until the day before I left! It was a marathon, but I was determined to finish. Tapas has sent me off with this major goal in mind! I hadn't negotiated any payment for this work because I was just focussed on getting it done. The authors had suggested that a year's worth of sales of the English edition could come to the Lab as our payment for the work. It has been a pending project on the backburner for a few years while we were building the building...... Well, we decided to ask our friend and supplier, whether he would send us the two dongles we needed, as payment for this work. And guess what? He said Yes!  So this was another miracle too!

So we shall soon be getting the dongles! We've even found someone from Germany who can bring them to us.  We will get them next week!.

We've ordered the two sound cards (Rs.195K approx - $2716 or Euros 2389). (Yes, indeed! It is REALLY crazy that we have tried to offer this outrageously expensive but marvelous Tomatis method here in India). We now need to put together money for an amplifier and a laptop, which we'll do in the next two weeks, and then we'll be ready!  Mano and Raj have been absolute bricks for the equipment research and orders.

So, just in time for Tapas' birthday (25.12.18) and mine (01.01.19), we'll be able to actualize this dream.

It has taken much much longer than expected, and it does mean a complete paradigm shift for us and the Lab..... So it makes sense that we start in the new year!

A special Thank You to Christa and Anya, who made their donations recurring; a very huge thanks to Jane, whose big recurring donation over many months saved us each end of the month, to Diana Brassard who gave another wonderful donation after the last report, and to Sandy for recently remembering us on Giving Tuesday. And a huge, huge thank you to all of you who participated.  Every single amount has helped!

In our next report, we look forward to showing you pictures of it all in action!!!

If any of you have the possibility of making even a $10 recurring monthly donation, that would be great,  because it would help towards the running costs the project; besides which GlobalGiving has a matching campaign on till the end of the year for all recurring donations.

So, we will launch the program in January.

Thank you so much for your patience and not losing faith in us!

Wishing you all happy holidays, whichever tradition you celebrate in!

 

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Organization Information

Auroville Language Laboratory

Location: Auroville, Tamil Nadu - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Mita Radhakrishnan
Auroville, Tamil Nadu India
$9,391 raised of $10,500 goal
 
166 donations
$1,109 to go
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